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И Чебурашка, и Масяня выигрывают от навязанной им роли (приобретая опыт, друзей). Им нравится бороться с чем-то другим, хотя это «другое» в данном случае относится к мейнстриму — в случае с Чебурашкой это советский коллектив, в случае с Масяней — общество потребления. Кроме того, оба персонажа пассивны — они проявляют себя и играют, чтобы создать видимость реального действия и вовлеченности. Следовательно, если рассматривать Масяню как «продолжение» Чебурашки, то можно провести параллели между обществами и эпохами, в которые они были созданы: в сериале про Чебурашку и Крокодила Гену эпоха «застоя» оформляется такими мотивами, как социальное отчуждение героев и их уход в игру, тогда как в мини-фильмах о Масяне постсоветская эпоха наделяется сходными чертами. Однако здесь социальное одиночество героев определяется иными, чем в «застойную» эпоху, причинами — не столько политическими, сколько экономическими.

Перевод А. Плисецкой


Sergei Ushakin’s introductory article provides an overview of the culture of «Soviet childhood,» situating «merry little heroes» in a broader social and cultural context. The characters discussed in the collection were distinctly liminal in relation to mainstream culture, yet it was precisely their liminal position that explained their cult status and made them play a crucial role in Soviet culture. Drawing on Lacanian distinctions between the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real, Ushakin argues that these characters compensated Soviet audiences for the disintegration of the Soviet symbolic by enhancing the imaginary, while simultaneously evoking the traumatic real and helping to control the fear. Thus, the liminal position of «merry little heroes» reflected the interim and ambivalent character of late Soviet culture, characterized by elusive meanings, non-working taxonomies, and blurred perspectives.

Konstantin Bogdanov’s «’The Most Human Little Man’: Volodya Ulyanov» discusses transformations of the image of young Lenin, which became a central figure in Soviet propaganda of children’s culture during the 1920s and 1930s, and retained its prominence until the 1960s. In Soviet mythology, baby Lenin, as a playful and adventurous child, stood in opposition to Stalin, a symbolic father whose childhood, by order of Stalin the man, remained forbidden for representation. The article analyses the technology involved in the production of the young Lenin by examining ideologically motivated editing imposed on all memoirs about him beginning in the 1920s.

Kevin Platt’s «Drs. Dolittle & Aibolit Visit the Trauma Ward» examines Korney Chukovsky’s tales about Doctor Aibolit (Doctor Ouchithurts) through the lens of trauma theory. Starting with Chukovsky’s creative adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s stories about Dr. Dolittle, which reflected their author’s traumatic experience in WWI, Platt continues by placing the main corpus of Chukovsky’s work in the context of social violence of the 1920s and 1930s. He also considers the death of Chukovsky’s daughter as an influential factor in his creative process. Platt concludes by discussing Chukovsky’s little-known tale «We Shall Conquer Barmalei» («Odoleem Barmaleia») in relation to the author’s experience of WWII and, in particular, to his loss of his son. Platt treats the extraordinarily frank portrayal of grotesque violence in this last tale as the key to understanding the evolution of Chukovsky’s art as part of the historical process.

Mark Lipovetsky’s «Buratino: Utopia of a Free Marionette» discusses the ideological meaning of Buratino in Alexey Tolstoy’s Zolotoi kliuchik (The Golden Key). Combining the study of archival materials with a close reading of Tolstoy’s text, Lipovetsky argues that Buratino is not just a paradigmatic trickster but also a manifestation of Tolstoy’s utopia of freeplay in the context of rigid ideological limits. Alexander Prokhorov’s «Three Buratinos: Evolution of a Soviet Film Hero» treats Buratino as an archetype in Soviet culture. Discussing Alexander Ptushko’s film The Golden Key (1939), Dmitrii Babichenko’s and Ivan Ivanov-Vano’s film The Adventures of Buratino (1959), and Leonid Nechaev’s television feature The Adventures of Buratino (1975), Prokhorov argues that the changes in the portrayal of Buratino represented the evolution of values in Soviet culture. Explaining the post1Soviet failure to follow Soviet culture by generating its own cinematic version of Buratino, Prokhorov points to the rupture in the cultural tradition that occurred during the late-Soviet period.

Anne Nesbet’s «In Borrowed Balloons: The Wizard of Oz and the History of Soviet Aviation» places the Russian translation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (1900) into the context of Soviet culture. In 1939, Aleksandr Melent’evich Volkov, a professor of metallurgy, translated Baum’s book into Russian, although the translation was described as a «reworking,» and as time passed, Baum’s role in the creation of the story was progressively minimized. Volkov’s Wizard of the Emerald City became a great hit, and at the end of the 1950s he produced a substantially revised edition of his fairytale, followed by a number of sequels; the popularity of his books has lasted into the post-Soviet era. At the same time as he was translating The Wizard of Oz, Volkov wrote yet another novel for children with «ballooning» as a central theme, The Wonderful Sphere, based on the historically dubious claim that a Russian man in Riazan in 1731 had actually been the world’s first balloonist, fifty-two years before the Montgolfier brothers. Published in 1940, Volkov’s novel was a prescient forerunner of the campaign for «Russian priority» in all technical areas, a campaign that became official policy in the late 1940s. A.M. Volkov thus had a hand in two appropriations at once: he turned an American fairyland into a beloved series of Soviet children’s books, and he was one of the earliest popularizers of the claim that Russia, not France, was truly the «motherland of aviation.»

Natalia Smolyarova’s «Winnie-the-Pooh: An Adult Book for Children» compares the Russian version of «Winnie-the-Pooh» written by Boris Zakhoder to the original by A.A. Milne. Zakhoder’s rendition of the classic is remarkable for the combination of his thorough effort at translation and his distinctively individual narrative style. Unlike Milne’s original intended for the adults, Zakhoder’s translation was aimed at children and has become a cult text of Russian children’s culture since its publication in the 1960s. As part of his translation project, Zakhoder wrote original poems and invented new words and phrases, which remain in the language of Russian children today. While treating the original in creative ways, Zakhoder retained its intricate structure, preserving Milne’s distinct styles corresponding to the three contexts of narrative events — Christopher-Robin and his toys in the nursery, little animals in a forest, and father and son at bed1time. Smolyarova also traces the history of illustration of the tales made by E. Shepard in England and A. Poret in Russia, and also examines the toy prototypes of Milne’s main characters.

Yuri Leving’s «„There Must be Somebody There…“: Winnie-the-Pooh and the New Animation Aesthetics», discusses the Russian cartoon version of A.A. Milne’s classic stories, arguing that the work of Fyodor Khitruk’s team between 1969 and 1972 testifies to aesthetic and ideological shifts that took place in Soviet animation during the post-Khrushchev era.

Maria Mayofis’s «Sweet, Sweet Trickster: Carlson and the Soviet Utopia of ‘Real Childhood’» explores the history of Soviet cultural perceptions of Carlson, the protagonist of a trilogy by Astrid Lindgren. The author examines Soviet reviews of Lindgren’s books as well as theatre performances based on its plot in order to demonstrate that the character of Carlson was transformed into a metaphor of individual freedom and social nonconformity. Furthermore, the two-part cartoon version (1968, 1970) of Lindgren’s texts interpreted Carlson as an embodiment of theatricality and turned the narrative into a form of reflection on Soviet culture of the 1960s.

Sergey Kuznetsov’s «Zоо, or Films Not About Love» offers a sociological discussion of the images of Crocodile Gena and Cheburashka, the characters of children’s stories by Eduard Uspensky adapted for television in a series of cartoons, which achieved cult status in the USSR as well as in other countries. Kuznetsov focuses on melancholy and the sense of alienation as the distinctive traits of the main characters. He also discusses literary and social models for the development of juvenile and adult folklore around the figures of Crocodile Gena and Cheburashka.

Konstantine Klioutchkine’s «Reasons for Cheburashka’s Popularity» suggests that the appeal of the Cheburashka cartoon series (1969, 1971, 1974, 1983) derived from the possibilities it offered for dual reception. Speaking the late-Soviet language of warm human values, the cartoon also articulated the experience of alienation. Cheburashka allowed its viewers to preserve normative optimism, while also helping them to work through their sense of estrangement. The article builds on Sergey Kuznetsov’s observations and also draws on Mark Lipovetsky’s concept of the trickster (both in this volume).

Lilya Kaganovskaya’s «The Arms Race, Transgender, and Stagnation: Wolf and Hare in the Con/Subtext of the Cold War» places the animated series Just You Wait! (Dir. Vladimir Kotenochkin, 1969) in the context of Cold War politics and the discourse of late socialism. Drawing on the works by Judith Butler, Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Ћiћek, and Alexei Yurchak, Kaganovskaya explores the ways in which Cold War rhetoric intersects with and is undone by gender-bending, the breakdown of binary opposites, and the disruption of normative categories of identification and mis/recognition.

Elena Prokhorova’s «Going to Bed as a Device, or What Did Khriusha and Stepashka Teach Us?» argues that the children’s television program Good Night, Little Ones! provides for contemporary Russian viewers not only a memory vehicle evoking post-Soviet nostalgia themes, but also one of the few media icons relevant for the common media identity. Created in 1964, Good Night, Little Ones! was one of the first serialized television shows with a fixed time slot and the only show that has been continuously broadcast on Russian television after the end of the Soviet Union and the rise of Russian commercial television culture. The author examines the changing format of the show and its heroes in the Soviet and post-Soviet television.

Elena Baraban’s «A Utilitarian Idyll» examines three popular cartoons about the village of Prostokvashino. Based on children’s stories by Eduard Uspensky, these cartoons provide valuable clues for the understanding of late-Soviet society. Baraban interprets the characters and situations depicted in the series as a critique of Soviet utopianism typical of the 1960s and 1970s. The idyll of Prostokvashino is made possible by the protagonists’ pragmatism and even utilitarianism, qualities that had previously been criticized within Soviet culture.

Ilya Kukulin’s «The Fourth Law of Robotics: The Mini-Series The Adventures of Elektronik and the Formation of the Generation of the 1990s in Russia» analyzes the social context of the image of the boy-robot Elektronik from Yevgeny Veltistov’s children’s stories, published between 1964 and 1975 and adapted for television in a 1979 mini-series. Conceived in the stories as a participant in the utopian project of developing specialized mathematical schools as «crystallisation points» for a future society, Elektronik was reinterpreted in the mini-series as a member of a group of friends attempting to gain independence from an adult world. This reinterpretation, supported by successful casting decisions, was responsible for achieving a cult status for the mini-series. Taking into consideration that Veltistov was not only a writer but also a liberal functionary of the Communist Party, Kukulin explores the ways in which the stories and the mini-series reflected the developments within the Party and among the cultural elites.